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TRP Scam: Custody of Ex-COO of Ratings Agency BARC Extended

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Representative Image

The probe agency sought further remand saying it had retrieved certain chats from his phone for which he needed to be questioned, and to probe if there was a connection between BARC and Republic TV, one of the channels accused of manipulating the TRP mechanism.

A magistrate court in Mumbai on Saturday extended till Monday police custody of former chief operating officer (COO) of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), a television audience measurement agency, in connection with the alleged TRP (Television Rating Points) scam. Romil Ramgarhia, who was BARC's COO between 2014 and 2020, was held on Thursday by Mumbai Crime Branch and he was produced before additional chief judicial magistrate S B Bhajipale on Saturday at the end of his initial custody.

The probe agency sought further remand saying it had retrieved certain chats from his phone for which he needed to be questioned, and to probe if there was a connection between BARC and Republic TV, one of the channels accused of manipulating the TRP mechanism. Republic TV, however, has refuted all allegations.

Ramgarhia's laywer, Aditya Mithe, told court his client had no role to play in the case but had been arrested on "flimsy grounds". The court accepted the police's plea and extended his custody till Monday.

Ramgarhia is the the 14th person to be arrested in the case. The police has claimed Ramgarhia provided secret and confidential information to which he was privy as COO between 2014 and 2020.

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The police has said he also had access to information on households where the barometers have been installed. The police began a probe into the alleged scam after BARC filed a complaint through Hansa Research Agency about rigging of TRP by some channels.

TRP, measured by recording viewership data at sample households, is crucial for attracting advertisers.

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first published:December 19, 2020, 21:56 IST